Jake delivered five days early, so I knew an early delivery was very possible, but I had a killer sinus infection at 39 weeks and Jacob was cramming as much work in as possible in Houston before heading my way the night before my Tuesday due date.
So there I was on Monday before my due date with Braxton Hicks contraction after Braxton Hicks contraction counting down the hours till Jacob arrived that evening.
Jacob arrived at 7pm and was greeted by a delighted wife who was not in labor. I fell asleep that night thinking: OK, baby, you can come.
I had my first contraction in the wee hours of the morning. They were faint and far between, and I had no idea if they would take, but I was excited and I was ready. We got up around 7:30, and I was having contractions every 8-10 minutes. We told my mom before she left for work, and she said she'd cancel her afternoon appointments to come be with me. My 40 week appointment was already scheduled for 10:45, and I told my mom I'd give her the update after that.
I still had to get my hospital bag ready and make arrangements for where Jake could hang out until my little brother was off work - I'm a huge procrastinator when it comes to these types of tasks - but otherwise we didn't have much to do by way of getting ready and I was glad of that.
When I went into labor with Jake I had a To Do list that was fifteen items long, and I spent the entire day sweeping and otherwise playing Cinderella until I couldn't handle it anymore and we headed to the hospital where all I could do was climb into bed and curl up in a ball. I wanted this labor to go differently - I wanted to try all the gimmicky pain management things during the early parts of labor. I wanted to find some stuff that helped me manage the pain before contractions were too intense. I wanted to sit on the birthing ball and get in the tub and have Jacob put pressure on my lower back and all those kinds of hippy mama birthing things that I hadn't had the chance to try last time.
|Doing our nails in early labor|
Wife: Hey, babe. How are things?
Husband: They're good. I'm playing cards with Nan.
Wife: I'm in labor.
Husband: I know. I know. She just asked me to help fix her clock, and I was waiting for the epoxy to dry.
Husband: I'm sorry. I just got distracted. We're almost done. Really. Only a few more hands before the game's over.
Husband: I'm coming now.
So he did, and we pulled some clothes on our offspring and headed out the door for our 10:45 appointment. We hit some roadwork and arrived twenty minutes late. My doctor is a family friend and practices in my parents' clinic, so throughout my prenatal care I always tried to be super respectful. I used the front door. I waited in the waiting room. I didn't want special treatment because I was the "boss's daughter." I felt horrible arriving so late and was crafting my apology in my head as I waddled in. I didn't have a chance to apologize however: my mother was at the front desk, and all the receptionists grinned as I walked in, as if I didn't feel conspicuous enough lumbering through the waiting room in my 40 week laboring glory. I went in to give my urine sample, enduring all kinds of encouraging smiles as I traversed the back hallways.
A few minutes later we were in the exam room with my doctor.
My contractions were about 6 minutes apart and still really manageable.
My OB checked me. 4 cm and 80% effaced. Good good good. That sounded just fine. She assumed we'd want to go labor at home, and we agreed. She said she'd text me before her last patient around 5 so we could come in and she could check me again and we'd go from there. I thought that sounded perfect.
We drove to drop Jake off at my friend's house, and the streets of Fredericksburg were especially charming. I couldn't help reflecting on how well the process was going. My husband was here; it was the beginning of his ten day leave from work; I'd gone into labor at the perfect time; it was the most beautiful October day; my OB and I were on texting terms.
My friend had some pumpkins on her porch, so we checked off the obligatory harvest photo shoot.
And things continued to go on perfectly pretty much all afternoon. I labored on the birthing ball and Jacob discovered the best way to put pressure on my back to really help the pain of my contractions. I finally got to drink my designated labor beverages: coconut water and Tropical flavored Recharge.
Jacob kept saying it was so beautiful outside that we should take a walk, and I got to smugly remind him that he wasn't the one in labor.
My contractions were 5 minutes apart and intensifying. At about 2:30 I got in my parents' big bathtub. I loved being in the tub. My labor slowed down to every 6:30 minutes, and my contractions were staying around 50 seconds long. I would lean against the tub wall and he would put pressure on my back during contractions. In between contractions, he fed me turkey cranberry salad. My mother came in and told me how many people around town had sent me their best wishes. We opened the window and let the October breeze blow in. Contractions were strong, but the experience as a whole was even kind of...pleasant.
So I began to think about blogging the birth story.
Because this was turning out to be the most boring birth story ever.
It was my due date. I went into labor after a perfect night's sleep and looked to have a baby in my arms by nightfall. My labor was slow enough but fast enough. Soon it would be five o'clock and we'd go in for some more encouraging news and then we'd go to the hospital and push out a perfect baby....and it really just didn't seem fair.
It didn't seem fair to all the women who have deeply traumatic labors and to all the women who deliver babies with complications and to all the women who don't have someone who loves them at their side as they deliver much less an entire town of hands that are eager to help.
I was about ready to cry about all this and expressed some of the sentiment to Jacob who had no patience with these particular emotions and told me not to count my chickens.
That sobered me right up, and I decided that it was mine to continue with my lovely birth even if the story ended up too obnoxious to even put on the blog.
Sandals: My little sister's
Shirt: From my stint on the 1994 Fredericksburg All Star Softball team. Glory days.
I lay on the couch until my pulse went back up, and thought I must be entering transition so we geared up to drive to the clinic.
Jacob got the stuff in the car and just as we were leaving at 5:15 my OB texted me that we should head her way. The contractions were intense, but in between them I was still able to marvel at how uneventful and well timed this whole birth was. The roadworkers were gone for the day, so we didn't even get delayed on our way into town. We drove up to the clinic, walked back to an exam room, and I lay on the table through a contraction. After the contraction, I told Jacob how hard things were getting but how encouraged I was by how things had gone as a whole. And then I said:
"But what if I'm only like...6 cm or something..."
As soon as I said this my OB walked in and checked me.
"You're at about 6 to 7...well...6."
I started to die inside.
She continued. "Did you want to go ahead and go to the hospital or what were you thinking?"
I smiled the fakest smile under heaven and thought: "Thinking?! What was I thinking?!? I was thinking I was at least an 8 and that you would comment on how well I looked for being so far along and straightway send me to the Women's Pavilion. That's what I WAS thinking. Now I'm thinking I want to die. 2 LOUSY CENTIMETERS IN OVER 6 HOURS. Grand. Just grand." But instead I just said:
"I guess we should go get checked in before things get more intense." She concurred and said she would come over as soon as she finished up at the clinic.
She left. I had a contraction. I pulled myself up off the ground and walked out of the clinic to the car.
[Part 2 will be up soon. I want to pound this thing out before my newborn stops sleeping 22 hours a day.]